According to multiple sources now including CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, ESPN and the MLB Network's Jim Bowden and MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Washington Nationals and 69-year-old manager Davey Johnson have agreed on a deal that will bring the veteran skipper back to manage the Nats in 2013. In his 16th year on the bench in 2012, the former major leaguer led the Nationals to an NL East title, the best record in baseball and the first postseason appearance by a team from the nation's capital since 1933. The Nats lost the NLDS to St. Louis in heartbreaking fashion, but the Nationals' brass has been clear since before the regular season ended that they wanted to bring Johnson back to D.C. next season.
When D.C. GM Mike Rizzo spoke to reporters yesterday, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, the Nats' general manager once again stated his desire to see Johnson return to the bench. Rizzo hired Johnson as an assistant to the GM when he took over in D.C. after the baseball lifer had worked with the organization as an advisor under the previous regime. When Jim Riggleman walked on the Nationals in June of 2011, the Nats' general manager turned to Johnson and asked the veteran manager to return to the bench eleven years after he'd last managed in LA. Johnson was brought back in 2012 and according to reports this afternoon has agreed to return next season:
Davey Johnson and #nationals have agreed on the terms of his new managerial deal. Just finalizing legal issues/paperwork— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 9, 2012
After the Nationals fell short in the NLDS, Johnson, who'll turn 70 in late January, joked with the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore that he might have pulled a "La Russa" and retired in the 2012 Nats had gone the distance, but after they lost to the Cardinals, he said he felt there was unfinished business in Washington, D.C. While Johnson will now return for a 17th year on the bench, MLB.com's Bill Ladson's sources tell him that the manager will be taking one last run at another World Series:
Source: 2013 most likely will be Davey Johnson's last year managing the #Nats. #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) November 9, 2012
The Nationals lost one potential successor when Bo Porter left D.C. for the AL West-bound Houston Astros. Randy Knorr served as Johnson's bench coach in 2012 and has managed at three levels in the organization (High-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse), so he is viewed by some as Johnson's eventual replacement, but that's something to discuss down the road as Davey Johnson would tell reporters. The feisty Nats' skipper is apparently coming back for one more run.